Favaro replaces Parisse as Italy captain for Tonga test

PADUA, Italy (AP) Flanker Simone Favaro will captain Italy against Tonga and Andries Van Schalkwyk will step in at No. 8 in their rugby test on Saturday in the absence of the suspended Sergio Parisse.

Parisse was banned for three weeks by the French club leagues on Wednesday, for involuntarily hitting an opponent's face with his foot on Nov. 5 while playing for his Stade Francais club against Bordeaux.

Favaro, who plays for Glasgow Warriors and has 32 caps, will assume the captaincy for the first time.

''If there is one player who represents the spirit of this national team, it is without a doubt Simone Favaro, and I know that all of his teammates will support him 100 percent on the field Saturday,'' Italy coach Conor O'Shea said on Thursday.

Van Schalkwyk scored Italy's first try in an historic first win over South Africa last weekend. Van Schalkwyk later exited the match injured but has been declared fully fit.

The Azzurri host Tonga in Padua at the Stadio Euganeo.

O'Shea announced his original lineup on Tuesday with only one change – Quintin Geldenhuys replacing the injured Andries Van Schalkwyk at lock. On Thursday, O'Shea's revised squad brought Van Schalkwyk back.

Tonga made only one change from the side which beat the United States 20-17 in San Sebastian, Spain, last weekend, bringing back David Halaifonua at fullback for Telusa Veainu. Tonga also beat Spain in its tour opener.

Lineups:

Italy: Edoardo Padovani, Giulio Bisegni, Tommaso Benvenuti, Luke McLean, Giovanbattista Venditti, Carlo Canna, Giorgio Bronzini; Andries Van Schalkwyk, Simone Favaro (captain), Francesco Minto, Marco Fuser, Quintin Geldenhuys, Lorenzo Cittadini, Ornel Gega, Sami Panico. Reserves: Tommaso D'Apice, Nicola Quaglio, Simone Ferrari, George Biagi, Abraham Steyn, Edoardo Gori, Tommaso Allan, Michele Campagnaro.

Tonga: David Halaifonua, Nafi Tu'itavake, Siale Piutau, Latiume Fosita, Fetu'u Vainikolo, Kali Hala, Sonatane Takulua; Tevita Koloamatangi, Jack Ram, Dan Faleafa, Joe Tu'ineau, Steve Mafi, Siua Halanukonuka, Paula Ngauamo, Tevita Mailau. Replacements: Elvis Taione, Paea Fa'anunu, Sila Puafisi, Valentino Mapapalangi, Kotoni Ale, Tomasi Palu, Tevita Taufui, Cooper Vuna.